Philosophy of Liberation, A Manual of Sant Mat Mysticism
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- Sant Mat Society of North America, Maharshi Mehi Ashram, and, Santmat Satsang Samiti, Chandrapur, India
This book is remedial Sant Mat 101 for those who seek to come to a deeper understanding of the teachings of Masters and develop their own meditation practice. Philosophy of Liberation is not light reading, and that is precisely what I like about it! It is quite literally, THE MANUAL of Sant Mat -- one of the best books ever written about traditional Sant Mat Mysticism and the Radhasoami Faith.
Jai Guru, Jai Sat Naam, Radhasoami,
This is the first book in English featuring the teachings of Maharshi Mehi, in the lineage of Param Sant Tulsi Sahib, the famous Saint of Hathras, India, in the Sant Mat tradition. The lineage began with Tulsi. After him were several Gurus, including Baba Devi Sahib. Mehi was the chief disciple and spiritual successor of Baba Devi Sahab.
- 2012-06-06 04:25:03
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Subject: Book Review: Philosophy of Liberation
by James Bean
Copyright December 2004 -- All Rights Reserved
Philosophy of Liberation (Moksha-Darshan)
By Maharshi Mehi Paramahansa Ji Maharaj
Translated by Veena Howard
Published by the Sant Mat Society of North America, Maharshi Mehi Ashram, and, Santmat Satsang Samiti, Chandrapur, India.
This is the first book in English featuring the teachings of Maharshi Mehi, in the lineage of Param Sant Tulsi Sahib, the famous Saint of Hathras, India. The lineage began with Tulsi. After him were several Gurus, including Baba Devi Sahib. Mehi was the chief disciple and spiritual successor of Baba Devi Sahab. Veena Howard, who was initiated into meditation practice by Mehi, tells me that more writings from this lineage of Masters will soon be published and made available to spiritual seekers in the West. She sometimes gives public talks with an inter-faith perspective, mentioning the parallels between Sant Mat teachings and the mystic schools in the other world religions. Veena is also aware of other Sant Mat and Radhasoami lineages of Masters and seeks to cultivate friendly relations with one and all. I notice the book quotes Soami Ji Maharaj (Shiv Dayal Singh) several times, respectfully referring to him as "Sant Radhaswami Sahib."
Note, both Soami Ji Maharaj and Huzur Maharaj (Rai Saligram) of the Radhasoami Faith, in their younger days, used to attend satsang in Hathras. There are two books in English featuring the mystic poetry and other writings of Sant Tulsi Sahib:
"Tulsi Sahib -- Saint of Hathras," a Volume in the Mystics of the East series: RS Books: Tulsi Sahib.
"Param Sant Tulsi Saheb," published in Agra, India: Online Book -- PDF File: An Anthology of the Writings of Param Sant Tulsi Sahib.
Philosophy of Liberation is a intriguing book, providing some surprisingly technical details on the Yoga of Sound -- Surat Shabd Yoga Meditation ("Nadanu Sandhana"), as well as the Yoga of Light, referred to in their terminology as "Drshti Yoga", Yoga of Vision). The book is a bit more Upanishadic than I would have expected, rich with quotes from Hindu scriptures as well as the Sants of India, including from the Ghat Ramayana of Tulsi Sahib. Anyone interested in developing their own successful daily meditation practice will greatly benefit from the wisdom and depth of, "Philosophy of Liberation", as it systematically covers all aspects of the philosophy of the path and the technical details of spiritual practice rarely ever seen in print from any source outside of India. It is not light reading, and that is precisely what I like about it! It is quite literally, THE MANUAL of Sant Mat -- one of the best books ever written about Sant Mat Mysticism.
From the Book.....
72. The literature of various Saints describes the Sounds of the different realms. Some of the various Sounds are said to be similar to the Sounds of the veena (stringed instrument similar to the lyre), the murali (flute), the nafeeri (horn instrument), the mridang (drum), the mrdal (cymbals), the singi (a horn), the sitar (stringed instrument), or the sarangi (similar to a lute). Other descriptions compare these Sounds to a peal of thunder and a roar of a lion.....
Kabir Sahab says:
The Bhanwar Guphaa (Supra-Causal Realm, a higher Realm) is vibrating with the Soham (knowledge of 'I', one's real Self). And the mystical flute is sounding continuously therein.
Sant Tulsi Sahab states in the Ghat Ramayana:
"The five various divine colors are seen in
the internal sky, viz. black, red, white, blue,
yellow, and the enchanting wave of the
spiritual Sound is bursting with the melodious
thrill of flutes."
It is necessary to focus on the various Sounds in meditation. It is not possible to have experience of the Essential Divine Sound without first having experience of the Sounds of the lower realms. This is consistent with the teachings of the Saints. Section 66 deals with the necessity of experiencing and grasping the Sounds of the lower realms prior to experiencing the Essential Divine Sound.
73. Thus, the various Sounds experienced in meditation (such as a flute or a drum) cannot be correlated to any specific realm. With the exception of a few Saints such as Sant Radhaswami and Kabir Sahab, most other Saints as well as the writings of the Upanishads describe the various Sounds but do not mention the corresponding realms. However, all essentially agree on the existence of the Nameless State [Anami].
In reading the various Saints' descriptions of Sounds, the inescapable conclusion is that all have complete knowledge of the Nadanu Sandhana (Yoga of Sound).
74. The Sound of the Gross Realm is sweet and harmonious. The Sound of the Subtle Realm is even sweeter and more harmonious than the Gross Realm. As one progresses from the Causal toward the Supra-Causal Realm the experience is of ever increasing sweetness and harmony of the Sound. In the state of Oneness of Upper Nature, the plurality of Sounds ceases to exist, and only then can the Essential Divine Sound be experienced. Other Sounds of the various Realms are not experienced at this level of the State of Oneness because diversity does not exist in the state of Oneness.
75. The State beyond Sound is acknowledged in the writings of Saints as the goal of their teachings. In addition, their writings accept Manas jap (repetition of a Divine name), Manas dhyan (concentration on a form of the Divine), Drshti Yoga (fixing the mind on a single Point) and Nadanu Sandhana (concentrating on the inner Sounds of the different spheres) as means to reach the Soundless State [Anadi]. These four techniques are therefore essential in Sant Mat.
76. Without achieving perfection in Nadanu Sandhana (the Yoga of Sound), the realization of the Supreme Sovereign God or the Knowledge of the Self cannot be achieved. ////////
Maharshi Mehi -- The Bridge between Hindu Scriptures and Sant Mat
by Pravesh K. Singh
Sant Tulsi Sahab of Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, India undoubtedly occupies the most pre-eminent position in the lineage of Sant Mat and can be said to be the First Saint in the glorious tradition of Modern Age Sant Mat. Mr. James Bean, who has made an intensive study of Sant mat and runs several groups on Sant Mat very rightly depicts Sant Tulsi Sahab as the "Adi Guru of many if not most all contemporary Santmat guru-lineages, the grandfather or founding-father of modern-day Santmat" and as a "connecting link between the classic Sants of India including earlier Masters in the Kabir lineage, and contemporary Santmat", and advocates that "any serious study of Sant Mat teachings must include the hymns and spiritual discourses of Sant Tulsi Sahib".
While Sant Tulsi Sahab laid the foundation of the Sant Mat tradition of modern times, it was exquisitely served and enriched in a unique way by Maharsi Mehi Paramhans ji Maharaj. Maharshi Mehi was a direct disciple of Baba Devi Sahab of Muradabad, Uttar Pradesh, India who had special blessings of Sant Tulsi Sahab. Before I proceed further, I wish to place on record that I have a firm opinion that all true saints are equal, as they all have by dint of their rigorous meditational practices raised their consciousness to merge into that of, and hence, have become one with, the Absolute Power, God. I, thus, have (and all of us should have) equal admiration and respect for all the saints (Lord Buddha, Lord Mahaveer, Shankaracharya ji, Ramanand ji, Kabir Sahab, Guru Nanak, Tulasi Das ji, Tulsi Sahab, Baba Devi Sahab, Dadu Dayal ji, Sundar Das ji, Swapach ji, Radhaswami Sahab ji, Rai Bahadur Shaligram Sahab ji, Ravidas ji, Ram Krishna Paramhans ji, Swami Vivekanand ji, Kamaal Sahab, Tukaram ji, Jagjivan Sahab, Palatu Sahab, Gorakhnath ji, Shiv Narayan Swami ji, Dariyaa Sahab (Bihari), Dariyaa Sahab (Marwari), Soordas ji, Dharani Das ji, Garib das Ji, Yari Sahab ji, Doolan Das ji, Gulal Sahab, Brahmaanand ji, Keena Ramji, Charandas ji, Sahajo Bai, Shabri, Mira Bai, Maharshi Raman, Rumi, Bulla Sahab, Guru Gobind Sahab, etc... etc...) whichever sect or panth they are from (in fact, the saints did never form or even propose to form any sects or panths, those have always been formed and promoted -- sometimes chauvinistically -- by their followers; the saints have always been much beyond sectarianism). So whatever I propose to say about Maharshi Mehi in the following paragraphs must not, in any way, be construed to put him above or below other saints or to undermine the importance of other saints. All saints have, in all times, made the noblest efforts to uplift the humankind from their woeful state of being attached to the illusory duo of the body and the world.
The role of Maharshi Mehi was, however, arguably unique in one sense. All saints, as has been underscored above, are equal as they have become one with Him. However, the worldly roles played by different saints of different times have been different depending upon the place and time of their appearance and the then prevalent social milieu. Saints like Shankaracharya, taking the support of Holy Scriptures (some of these being the same Scriptures which were used by Dualists), established the supremacy of Monist or Non-dualist Philosophy. Many other saints like Kabir, Nanak, etc... preached to the world, on the basis of their own direct spiritual experiences, the evanescence, the impermanence of this illusory creation (the attachment to which is the prime cause of our sufferings and endless wanderings through 8.4 millions of species) and exhorted us to practice non-detached way of living and steadfast meditation so as to liberate ourselves of the countless cycles of birth and death. They also made valiant efforts in fighting and eradicating social evils and religious parochialism which were rampant in their times. Some of their teachings, however, also conveyed the impression, falsely though (because such impressions were based on faulty interpretation of their sayings), that all the intellectual exercises such as studying of numerous Scriptures were futile and as such of no avail, rather impediments in the path of liberation. In due course of time an apparent scenario emerged wherein the Vedas and Scriptures (composed by Rishis of ancient times) and popular Saints, who generally preached in commonplace languages and local dialects, came to be seen, as it were,to be in direct opposition to each other. The wisdom of Upanishads was unfortunately conceived to be contrary to the teachings of the modern saints, and the hiatus between the two appeared to be widening with time. It was then that Maharshi Mehi rose to the occasion realising the dire necessity to bridge this gap which was unreal, fabricated, and being made more permanent so to say. He decided to make an in-depth study of the four Vedas, various Upanishads, commentaries on these Scriptures by the various scholars, and the sayings of the saints ranging from the time of Lord Buddha to that of Radhaswami Sahab and Baba Devi Sahab. He very meticulously and diligently examined the quintessence, the underlying postulates of all these, and came up with a sound conclusion that there is no inconsistence whatsoever between the wisdom of the Ancient Scriptures and the Sermons and discourses of saints of modern saints, that both unequivocally convey the same central idea or message. He wrote several books to lend credence to his inferences. For example, he authored "Veda Darshan Yoga" (meaning the Philosophy of Vedas) and showed how the ideas contained in the hymns of Vedas are in agreement with the precepts of Santmat. He also wrote a commentary on Srimad Bhagvad Gita titled "Shri Gita Yog Prakash" and thereby clarified and removed several of misinterpretations of the shlokas contained therein. He also wrote "Ram Charit Manas Saar Sateek", a commentary on the Rama Charit Manas composed by Goswami Tulasidas ji wherein he has rendered wonderful explanations and expositions of several couplets and quartets to bring out their hidden metaphysical meanings which are extremely edifying and rare to find, even though scores of commentaries on Ram Charit Manas by several scholars have been written so far. His commentary on the Ghat Ramayan of Sant Tulsi Sahab of Hathras named "Bhaavaarth Sahit Ghat Ramayan Padaavali" is a must read for any spiritual seeker. He compiled shlokas, along with their translation from authentic sources, from a number of Upanishads to prove how identical and consistent they are with what saints, some of them formally illiterate at that, have said or written from their own experience. Finally he decided to take upon himself the herculean task, in which he was very ably assisted by his dearest disciple and successor Maharshi Santsewi ji, of collating the teachings of Vedas, Upanishads, renowned commentators such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, etc, and saints together in one place,in the form of one great book titled "Satsang Yoga" divided in four parts. Part Four of the book contains his own conclusions and the accurate road map depicting, with the accuracy and precision of a scientist, the various stages of spiritual meditation and the spiritual states experienced by the sincere spiritual seekers on the way to perfection which means actual merger of the individual soul into the Absolute Entity called God just as a river merges its identity wholly with that of a sea losing its own individuality in the process. Here he has explained, with striking clarity, the order in which different planes of Universe (viz., Shabdaateet Pad, Hiranyagarbh, Bhanwar Gufaa, Mahaashoonya, Shoonya, Trikuti, Sahastradal Kamal , Ajnaa Chakra and the other chakras) came to be created by and from God and which are realised directly by the saadhak (practitioner) during his meditation. The spiritual cosmology sketched by him, again with the able assistance of Maharshi Santsewiji, is perhaps the clearest and the most elaborate available anywhere wherein the equivalent names of different levels of creation used by Sufi Fakirs also have been included. The clarity and the confidence with which he describes the experiences of a spiritual practitioner during meditation which includes seeing different lights and innumerable cosmos through the inner eyes and listening,through inner ears, to myriads of sounds (such as those resembling notes of various musical instruments and thundering of clouds) culminating in grasping of the Quintessential Unstruck Melody known as Anaahat Shabd or Saar Shabd which leads unto the Kingdom of One and the Only Almighty, is unparalleled and leaves the reader assured that these are the words backed by direct, first-hand experience of a saint. Satsang Yoga -- Part IV, in fact, reads like a systematic scientific documentation, a research thesis.
As the gist of the whole of his intensive research into literature and hi sown direct experience, he made a loud and confident proclamation that the scriptures and saints are essentially in unison and that any view to the contrary is wholly unfounded and worthy of rejection. He firmly opines that one has to accept the Upanishads as the base, the foundation of the Santmat because the most sublime and the loftiest of the meditational techniques known as Naadaanusandhaan or Surat Shabd Yoga (The Yoga of Divine Sound) in which Santmat takes utmost pride, have been scintillating in all their splendour resting on this very terra-firma called the Upanishads since times immemorial.
Thus,the greatest and most unique contribution of Maharshi Mehi was that he brought together, bridged the gulf that had come to separate not only the Holy Scriptures and the Santmat but also the different traditions or sects of sants from each other.
His great work was extended further by his greatest disciple and worthy successor, Maharshi Santsewiji, who tried to carry forward the syncretistic philosophy to a global scale. He studied all the major religions of the world in depth, sifted their essence or spirit and established the underlying unity and harmony among all of them above-board. In his extraordinary book "Sarva Dharma Samanway" which has been beautifully translated by Mrs. Veena Howard, Santmat Society of North America (TheWayOfSages.com), by the name "Harmony of All Religions", Maharshi ji has emphatically proved this harmony, citing convincing references from various religions viz. Vedic Religion, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc... Mr. James Bean has done a lucid review of Mrs. Howard's Translation.
In the light of the above, it is my considered view that any sincere seeker who wants to delve deep, look into the heart of Santmat, must undertake a serious study of Maharshi Mehi Paramhans' works, and that any scheme of syllabi of a course on Santmat, if one were to be ever attempted, will have to include Maharshi Mehi's Sahitya (literature). Maharshi Mehi Paramhans would always be remembered in the annals of history of humanity in general and Santmat in particular for having built the bridge between the Hindu Scriptures and Sant Mat.
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